PerspectiveClimate Change

From science to service

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Science  23 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6306, pp. 1366-1367
DOI: 10.1126/science.aag3087

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People rely on daily weather services to decide what to wear, make transport choices, prepare for rain, and more. Many societal decisions, however, need information not on time scales of days, but on climate time scales of months, years, or decades. New initiatives such as that of Copernicus in Europe provide a wealth of climate data, which is integral to climate services. However, data is only one aspect of climate services, which also involves translation and use of relevant information with the aim to help society manage the risks and opportunities of climate variability and change (15). To be successful, any climate service must have a clear problem focus, build on good-quality observations, and consider climate across different time scales.